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Suppose I'm playing a kobold sorcerer with find familiar by way of ritual caster or a dip into lore bard. It's a lovely overcast day and I decide that what I'd really like to do with my turn is to cast shocking grasp on some poor bastard. Since I am a tiny, delicate and a bit cowardly kobold, I send my familiar to deliver the good news and bad vibes. This of course requires an attack roll, specifically my attack roll (as per find familiar):

Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell. Your familiar must be within 100 feet of you, and it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it. If the spell requires an attack roll, you use your attack modifier for the roll.

...Except, as a kobold (Volo's Guide to Monsters, p. 119), I have the Pack Tactics racial trait:

You have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

My attack roll is made with advantage if I have an ally within 5 feet of the target, and my familiar is pretty allied. But since it's my familiar attacking, did it just get advantage from its own presence?

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No, you don't apply pack tactics in this case

The rules on delivering a spell with a familiar are (emphasis mine):

Finally, when you cast a spell with a range of touch, your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell. Your familiar must be within 100 feet of you, and it must use its reaction to deliver the spell when you cast it. If the spell requires an attack roll, you use your attack modifier for the roll.

This means that it is still the familiar that is delivering the spell, the familiar is making the attack except it's using your modifier for the roll. Pack tactics works when you make the attack yourself. The important distinction is that using your attack modifier is not the same thing as you making the attack.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, for all effects (for example, a Battlemaster's riposte maneuver) the familiar is the one making the attack. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this different answer conflict with this one? rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/126063 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 14:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 I don't think so. The familiar is not casting a spell but it is making an attack as part of the effect of the spell. That is my reading. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 14:40
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No advantage from pack tactics

Let's look at the exact wording of the spell:

your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell [..] If the spell requires an attack roll, you use your attack modifier for the roll. (PHB 240)

From this we can see, that it is not you that is attacking, but the familiar, "as if it had cast the spell". The only thing dependent on your character sheet is the attack bonus. Because it is not your attack, your pack tactics feature does not apply.

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Unfortunately, I don't think this would work

Kobolds from Volo's Guide to Monsters have Pack Tactics (pg. 119), which means they get to make melee attack rolls with advantage if an ally is within 5' of their target. Unfortunately, since the familiar is delivering the spell attack, you are not actually the one attacking, since "your familiar can deliver the spell as if it had cast the spell" (PHB, pg. 240), so it doesn't count.

As for your familiar, unless the familiar itself has Pack Tactics (and I don't think any of those listed as RAW options for the find familiar spell do), then they won't be able to get advantage (for that reason) either.

Hence in this situation, I don't think Pack Tactics would apply.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you elaborate on why you think the familiar delivering the spell is equivalent to it making the attack (rather than you making the attack, and your familiar merely delivering its effect)? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 8:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Ah, good point. I'll update my answer's wording. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 8:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Glancing at pg 119 Volo's, I don't see Pack Tactics specifying melee - just attack rolls. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @vonBoomslang I meant it as applying to this melee attack roll, since the example in the question is shocking grasp; however, it does also look like I'm implying that the trait only counts for melee attacks. Should I remove the word "melee" from my first sentence? \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 8:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Of course... If your familiar is there already, why wouldn't the Kobold cast the spell and make the touch themselves? That would give Pack Tactics. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 21:22
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I don't think it would work, but for a different reason to the existing answers from NathanS, Sdjz, and Szega.

Find familiar specifies that the attack uses your 'attack modifier', not the familiar's. What constitutes an 'attack modifier' is defined (pretty loosely) in two paragraphs in the 'Making an Attack' section1:

Determine modifiers.
The GM determines whether the target has cover and whether you have advantage or disadvantage against the target. In addition, spells, special abilities, and other effects can apply penalties or bonuses to your attack roll.

Modifiers to the Roll
When a character makes an attack roll, the two most common modifiers to the roll are an ability modifier and the character’s proficiency bonus. When a monster makes an attack roll, it uses whatever modifier is provided in its stat block.

Now, that first paragraph would mean that Advantage can transfer from the caster to the familiar. There is no mention of special abilities themselves being part of the modifier, however. My interpretation of the rules as written, then (if we take that as part of the definition of 'attack modifiers'), is that if you would have had Advantage when you attacked that is transferred onto your familiar; i.e. your idea is correct.

However, there is one major problem with this: it gives absurd results in other circumstances. E.g. if the target has cover from you but not your familiar, it would have cover from your shared spell; or if your familiar has darkvision but you do not it would still have Disadvantage attacking in the dark.

In light of this, I think we should ignore that whole paragraph and rely only on the 'Modifiers to the Roll' paragraph. This only mentions numerical modifiers, not Advantage, so regrettably Pack Tactics would fail to have any effect. The wording of find familiar might perhaps benefit from being emended to 'you use your attack roll modifier', since the rules on Making an Attack would seem to distinguish between two classes of modifier the current wording could refer to.

[1] https://dnd5e.info/combat/making-an-attack/

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